Football is Here

An after school visit to the football field is greeted with the sight of flying footballs and the sounds of hard hits. All across the country, schools have been gearing up for the high school football season. Ames High is no different and this year the season began early, with Ames debuting in its new CIML conference the week before school started. The new conference slate has brought with it a heightened sense of excitement. Gone is the long lasting rivalry with Valley, as the old Iowa conference has been dissolved. Waukee and Mason City have also been replaced as the new division, titled the Class 4-A Division 2, consists of Ankeny Hawks, Fort Dodge Dodgers, Des Moines North Polar Bears, Johnston Dragons and Sioux City North Stars. Even though Marshalltown, another of Ames’s fiercest rivals, has also been placed in a different division, coaches from the two schools were at least able to keep the long-lasting Ames-Marshalltown rivalry intact as the two will play on September 14th, Ames’ homecoming game. Sioux City North, Johnston and SE Polk are all teams that Ames hasn’t faced in recent years, but senior linebacker and co-captain Nolan Dickson said the team is “treating every game the same.” While all the changes certainly add a spice to the schedule, Dickson was quick to point out that, “the important thing is that the team is still guaranteed nine games.” Although new teams make up the division games, Ames continues to play some of the same teams from central Iowa. In fact, the first two games were against the typical yearly foes of East and Mason City. Both of these resulted in resounding wins as Ames beat Mason City 24 to 7 in the game the week before school started and then beat East 63-47 the following week. There have also been some early setbacks to the season though, as Ames was recently handed their first lost by Southeast Polk, losing by a score of 47 to 17. However, the team is a bit used to facing hardships as last season was marred by a barrage of injuries. Dickson described last year as, “a series of unfortunate events that we did not overcome.” Although the long list of injuries heavily deterred the season there were some benefits as many of the underclassmen gained valuable game experience at the varsity level. This experience can in turn carry positives over to this current season. Dickson said, “The best thing we can do about [the injuries] now is to take full advantage of all the experience younger guys got last year.” The improved depth has helped contribute to a mass of returning starters, especially on offense and with a six games and a series of new division foes remaining on the schedule the team maintains a positive outlook. “We have the potential to play some really good football on Friday nights,” said Dickson. “We are not quite there yet, but I’m excited about what we can do this season.”